Afghan migrants face harsh realities after returning from Pakistan

The International Rescue Committee reports that over 500,000 migrants returning from Pakistan to Afghanistan are facing dire futures. The committee highlights increasing humanitarian needs and food insecurity, pushing Afghanistan towards a potential crisis.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) noted that, as of Sept. 15, 2023, 1.5 million Afghan citizens have been expelled from Pakistan.

Fahima, a displaced resident from Badghis Province and now in Herat, reflects on the harsh conditions faced by many. Lacking warm clothing and sufficient food for children, she describes a desperate situation: “We have nothing. Our children have no clothes. In the winter, we have no heater, nothing at all. There is no oil, no rice. We are living in open spaces. The cold is killing our children; they are all sick.”

The International Rescue Committee, in its press release, expresses concern over the bleak outlook for these returnees. With over 100 days since the forced expulsion began, and with Afghanistan hosting over six million internally displaced persons, the strain on the country’s fragile economy is immense.

The press statement also discusses the challenges faced by migrants seeking entry into the United States through Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) and P-2 referrals, with 147,000 SIV migrants awaiting resolution.

Nazamuddin, another returnee, speaks to the inadequate aid provided: “We are unable to set up a tent or get wood or anything else. A person cannot sustain here. Only two or three blankets have been provided along with seven thousand Afghanis to us.”

Most migrants returning from Pakistan are being resettled in six zones across Afghanistan, primarily in the eastern and southern zones.